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Awards of Excellence for Support Staff 2013 Recipients

May 23, 2013 — 

The Awards of Excellence for support staff celebrate the outstanding work done by members of the university support staff. This is the eighth year of the awards and 32 nominations were received, a great testament to our community’s spirit of recognition. Listed below are the recipients selected in each of four award categories: President’s, Leadership, Service and Team.

President’s Award Recipient

This award celebrates the exceptional contributions of support staff during their career at the university. The Award consists of a certificate of recognition and a financial award.

Lynn Smith, student services: To her staff, Smith is “our mentor, our leader, our confidante, our cheerleader, our protector, our advocate, sometimes our conscience, and always a constant supporter of student-first initiatives.”  Smith has a broad timely vision of student services and support, and works tirelessly for that vision.

Leadership Award

Celebrates support staff members who lead effective teams to achieve results. Effective leaders engage colleagues in ways that promote a common understanding of the team, unit or university’s mission or goals. These leaders inspire co-workers to work creatively and collaboratively.

Marcia Bryson, financial services/ROSE: Bryson has been a force for change within the university community and financial services.  As one of her team members stated “I call her super woman”, she consistently engages and challenges the team. The infrastructure that Marcia and her teams are putting into place will help ensure the university’s continued success and growth.
Tracy Mohr, Office of Research Services: Mohr manages a large portfolio of complex projects, and leads a team that generates 80 million of research funds from various sources and 44 CRC nominations and renewals. Her team also has supported success in attaining graduate student funding. Tracy supports and develops her staff, and maintains an infectious, positive attitude and sense of humor. “Tracy Mohr is, in a word, a star.”

Greg Sobie, Faculty of Science, dean’s office: As the founding and current president of the advisor exchange group, Greg supports and coordinates collaboration such as communications and best practices.  Greg is a participative, creative leader with a great grasp of social media —contributing to the development of a wiki, the advisor exchange website, an innovative new call schedule and a blog. Sobie also participates on many university committee.

Service Award

Celebrates support staff members who have exhibited a high level of initiative, dedication and cooperation in their service to students, faculty, staff and the general public.

Lorna Cameron, U of M Libraries: Approachable, patient and an iPad expert, Cameron is dedicated to innovating and improving the workplace with thoughtful initiatives and hosting work placement students for two weeks every spring. Her citation noted that “she is creative and has an astounding ability to initiate programs and procedures that support change and adaptation to new technologies; she is a true expert in knowledge-transfer.”

Thayalan Karthigesu, Faculty of Law: In the Law Faculty, Karthigesu is in constant motion. He enthusiastically embraces his role and his approach puts his colleagues’ minds at ease regarding their technical concerns. Because of Karthigesu, law has leading edge classroom technology and a computer based examination system. It is reported that “we have the best IT support that anyone could offer.”
Andrea MacIntosh, Faculty of Medicine: MacIntosh has an incredible work ethic and sets a tone of professionalism, respect, efficiency, and collegiality. Her mark of quality and organization is ubiquitous throughout her lab. She has single-handedly developed and refined every operating procedure.

Janis McGonigle (posthumous), Faculty of Kinesology and Recreation Management: The nomination contains pages of love and testimony for the late Janis McGonigle. She was respected, admired, and appreciated as an administrator, guide, and mother-like supporter of students. The Research Institute is a friendly place in large part because of McGonigle’s impact on that environment. Her legacy includes the tremendous impact on the lives of the students and colleagues she touched.

Reg Roy, physical plant: How do you describe a man who works in -30C weather, fights off vicious squirrels, and carves the very fixtures that beautify our campus with his bare hands?  Two words: Reg Roy. Reg has always committed himself to ‘doing the job right’ and shared his craftsmanship in Arthur Mauro, the laboratories in Buller and numerous offices and classrooms.

Judith (Jude) Zieske, Faculty of Medicine: Zieske’s hard work, commitment to continuous improvement, and positive attitude affect support in three key areas, research, training, and community development, while keeping 45 members of the research group organized. Whether fundraising for schools in Kenya, upgrading her own skills, or going above and beyond the call of duty in the office, Zieske’s approach can be summed up with the phrase “How can I help?”

Team Award

Celebrates teams or working groups that have performed an outstanding service for the benefit of the university community. While the team may include external partners of the university, at least half of the team members must be support staff.

2012-2013 Wireless “N” Project, team members Jeysan Anoling, Tom Gronski, Marvin Kocay, Brian Mitchell, Jeff Reitberger, Harold Robson, Doug Stoyko, Kelly Thomas, James Tharayil, Darwin Thompson: Best described as a “triple win,” in under a year this team brought wireless connections to 12 U of M buildings on scope, on time, and within budget. Meeting the demands of the highly technology-connected student population has put the University at the forefront of wireless technology.

Exchange implementation project team, team members Chris Bohonis, Ed Co, Robert Dvorski, Jason Frovich, Trevor Gebel, Brian Greenberg, Lisa McCaffrey, Chris McCann, Brian Mitchell, Andrew Perchaluk, Dan Shinnan, Richard Sipinski,Ed Spencer, Lonnie Smetana, Kevin Stewart, David Treble, Jon Vitt: Changing a University email and calendar system is a tremendous undertaking. This team built the high degree of trust and respect needed to deliver a high quality, reliable, enterprise-level solution.  This team was solution-focused and constantly had the benefit to the end-user in mind when defining work and making decisions. They migrated 4,300 individual email accounts and almost 600 functional accounts. Such a high profile and complicated project could not be delivered without the shared contributions of each team member.

Physics and astronomy graduate and undergraduate support team, team members Susan Beshta, Wanda Klassen, Gilles Roy: The team’s work ethic, supportive behaviour, and positive morale radiates from the department’s main office, setting a respectful and collegial tone for members at all levels while producing “error-free work.”  All three team members are driven by a desire to help the department succeed and take pride in its achievements.


This article first appeared in the May 23, 2013 edition of The Bulletin.


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